BOSTON -- There’s an entry in today’s Twins press notes that nobody would have expected to see two weeks ago.
“How About Those Twins Starters,” the headline says, and the item goes on to say that, in their past nine games, Twins starting pitchers have posted a 2.20 ERA, with just three home runs allowed, and an opponents batting average of .204.
They’ve pitched at least six innings in eight of those nine starts, and not coincidentally, the Twins are 7-2 in that stretch.
Today, Nick Blackburn will face the Red Sox, completing the second turn through the rotation since this streak began. He held the White Sox to two runs on five hits over eight innings last Tuesday, but wound up with a no-decision in a 4-3 loss.
With Josh Beckett missing a start, Boston counters with lefthander Franklin Morales, who has posted a 3.32 ERA in 33 appearances this year, including five starts.
The Red Sox are reeling. Their clubhouse is filled with turmoil, and media members are on alert, wondering if Bobby Valentine will get fired. The Twins hadn’t won three straight games in Boston since 1994, and today, Minnesota can get its first four-game sweep at Fenway since 1991.
Stat of the day: Morales has a 6.08 ERA at Fenwary Park with the Red Sox, and a 1.28 ERA on the road. Hat tip to the Boston's Globe's Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe on Twitter).
Update: Just a standard day off for Denard Span. Ben Revere slides into the leadoff spot, and this keeps Darin Mastroianni in the lineup.
1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Darin Mastroianni, RF
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Ryan Doumit, DH
7. Brian Dozier, SS
8. Alexi Casilla, 2B
9. Jamey Carroll, 3B
Starting pitcher: RH Nick Blackburn (4-6, 7.43 ERA)
RED SOX (53-55)
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Carl Crawford, LF
3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
4. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
5. Cody Ross, DH
6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
7. Will Middlebooks, 3B
8. Ryan Kalish, RF
9. Mike Aviles, SS
Starting pitcher: LH Franklin Morales (2-2, 3.32 ERA)
Fenway Park. First pitch: 12:35 p.m. (Central). TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network
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